Canadian tennis player Felix Auger-Aliassime was put in an awkward spot on live TV when the host of a talk show he was on sledged fellow star Eugenie Bouchard.
Auger-Aliassime was on French-Canadian program Tout Le Monde En Parle when host Guy A. Lepage was spruiking the healthy state of Canadian tennis, listing the impressive achievements of the country’s highest profile competitors.
At just 18 Auger-Aliassime has already risen to No. 33 in the world and fellow teenage sensation Denis Shapovalov is 20th. Big-serving Milos Raonic, who made the quarter-finals of the Australian Open this year, is the world No. 15 and 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu made her mark with a stunning victory over three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber in the final at Indian Wells last month.
Auger-Aliassime is fresh from a close loss to John Isner in the semi-finals of the Miami Open and there are high hopes about what he will achieve in the sport.
Appearing on Tout Le Monde En Parle, the camera focused on the young gun when Lepage cracked a joke about Bouchard’s social media activity.
“Milos Raonic is 15th in the world, Denis Shapovalov is 20th, Bianca Andreescu, who is 18 like you, is 23rd,” Lepage said. “And Eugenie Bouchard is on Instagram.”
The studio audience laughed and Auger-Aliassime smiled nervously, but didn’t take the joke any further, instead going on to talk about whether he follows the careers of other Canadians closely.
After his semi-final appearance in Miami, Auger-Aliassime jumped 24 places in the rankings to reach his career-high of 33, becoming the youngest male player in the top 50.
Bouchard had a tough 2018 as she nearly dropped out of the top 200 but found form late in the year and had some impressive performances to kick off 2019 in New Zealand and Newport Beach.
However, on Friday it was reported she is taking an indefinite break from tennis after a surprise decision to pull out of two WTA Tour events this month.
Bouchard’s announcement on Friday that she has pulled out of the WTA Tour event in Bogota, Colombia, followed her instant withdrawal from last week’s tournament in Monterrey, Mexico, and leaves Bouchard without a locked-in tennis commitment until the French Open begins on May 20.
There are now fresh doubts the Canadian sensation will even be fit to play the year’s second grand slam.
Tennis.Life reported Bouchard released a one-line statement surrounding her decision to give up on her scheduled campaigns in Mexico and Colombia, claiming the decision was made “to get healthy”.
The report claims Bouchard has returned home to Montreal to spend time with family, while her coach Michael Joyce has travelled to Europe. Bouchard posted a picture on Instagram recently of her enjoying a meal with her mum.
The 25-year-old has worked hard to return her ranking to a recent high of No. 76 in the world after she collapsed to a low of No. 194 in June, 2018.
She has repeatedly spoken of her determination to get her tennis career back on track this year — but that goal will have to wait.